Of the 1,233 new single-family permits issued during the first two months of 2012, 243 of them, or 20 percent, were issued in El Paso County alone. According to new single-family February permit data by county, released by the Census Bureau, the counties with the largest numbers of single-family permits issued during the first two months of 2012 were El Paso, Douglas, Weld and Denver.
See here for recent posts about building permits.
New single-family permits during January 2012
El Paso 243
(Note: All permits discussed in this article are single-family permits.)
However, when permit totals are adjusted to the number of existing housing units in each county, the counties with the larges amounts of permit activity were Douglas, Weld and Chaffee counties.
The first map shows the relative amount of single-family permit activity adjusted for the existing size of the housing stock in each county. The counties are then broken out in quartiles reflecting the amount of single-family activity compared to other counties. The top quartile has the largest amount of new permitting compared to the number of existing units. The bottom quartile has the smallest amount.
Top Q: Brown
2nd Q: Green
3rd Q: Orange
Bottom Q: Yellow
No data: White
During the first two months of 2012, the metro counties with relatively few new single-family permits relative to the size of the existing stock are Pueblo, Jefferson, Boulder, and Teller counties.
In a larger context, single-family permits remain well below totals experienced prior to 2007. From 2006 to 2008, single-family permits in the state decreased 60 percent from 31,000 to 12,000. Permit activity appears to have bottomed out in 2009. When discussing permit activity from 2008 to the present time, even in areas that report substantial increases, we're looking at permit totals that are near 20-year lows.
See here for a discussion on historical permit data by county.
It is also helpful to see which counties have shown the largest increases and decreases in permit activity. In the map below, we see that comparing January-February 2011 to January-February 2012, several metro counties reported year-over-year increases of 50 percent or more. Pueblo, where single-family permits dropped 10 percent, was the only metro county that reported a decrease.
Brown: Increase of 50 percent or more
Green: Increase of 1 to 49.9 percent
Orange: Decrease of 1 to 49.9 percent
Yellow: Decrease of 50 percent or more
White: No data or no change
Largest increases among metro counties:
Denver 103 percent
Teller 100 percent
Douglas 169 percent